Clipper Anderson – “Ballad of the Sad Young Men”

AndersonHidden in the basement of Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington is bassist/vocalist Clipper Anderson. Not ringing any bells? That’s because he has been a sideman, buried behind the principals on upwards of 60 recordings while recording as leader on two previous releases: And to All a Goodnight (Origin Records, 2011) and The Road Home (Origin Records, 2012). Anderson follows up this latter recording with Ballad of the Sad Young Men, his first all vocal outing performed in the intimate confines of the piano trio.Clipper Anderson’s voice is more Tony Bennett than Frank Sinatra and way more Tony Bennett than Johnny Hartman, as has been reputed. His voice is not perfect, but possesses a certain uniqueness making it an exceptional vehicle for his broad repertoire. His singing is effortless in the natural way of self-effacing singers who show no tentative self-consciousness, only pure sound and honesty. Anderson shares this trait with labelmate Jeff Baker–Baker Sings Chet (OA2 Records, 2004)–who possesses these same attractive vocal characteristics.Anderson is thoughtful in his song selection by not challenging the listener with one more “My Funny Valentine.” In fact, “It Never Entered My Mind” and “Only The Lonely” are about the most common standards on this disc of a dozen ballads. The title cut and {{Billy Strayhorn’s “Blood Count” are better examples of the deep loam of material from which Anderson draws. Instrumentally, the trio makes the unassuming and competent music necessary to accompany a vocalist, while shifting into virtuosity when called upon to solo. Anderson’s bass possesses a sure internal metronome that swings bolstered by drummer Mark Ivester equally-measured sense of time. Pianist Darin Clendenin is the soul of discretion and taste, whose solos are miniature recitals. Tastefully rendered music. (By: C. Michael Bailey (All About Jazz)


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